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  • Editors' Introduction:"Our Work"
  • Jennifer L. Holberg and Marcy Taylor

When we were still graduate students and began to consider founding the journal that would become Pedagogy, we little thought about what shape the university would take over a decade hence. But we were concerned, even then, with what the discipline seemed to value, with the rather uneven weighting of the reward system given the hours of our day. Ten years into Pedagogy's publication and writing now as tenured professors, we find that though much has changed, much of what has appeared in these pages still resonates. Indeed, in the very first issue of Pedagogy, George Levine's (2001: 7) commentary argued that English studies is "a nation divided" between our work as teachers and our work as scholars. His description of our dilemma remains remarkably accurate.

"My work" usually means research and writing as opposed to work in the classroom or service to department or university. But what is most remarkable about this obvious fact of university life is that despite professional devaluing and recent years of attack on the professoriate for not caring about teaching, "my work" normally waits in second place after dedicated, even passionate commitment to students and teaching. Even those who measure academic success, as most do, by the number of course releases they get and the number of competitive leaves they can win tend on the whole to take teaching very seriously. That's lucky.

Since 2001 Pedagogy has sought to broaden and redefine "our work," and this special anniversary issue celebrates both where we have come from and where we currently are—at a pivotal point in the history of higher education. [End Page 1]

When the journal first appeared, we were most concerned with making the scholarship of teaching—or, better, the critical discourse on teaching across English studies—ever more relevant within the field. We wrote in our first "Editors' Introduction" that Pedagogy sought to introduce new ways to conceive of and critically engage our work as teachers: "Above all, we believe that the essays [in this issue] represent a starting point: they engage the idea of devoting our scholarly energy to teaching. Because there is little tradition of critical work on teaching, we lack a language for speaking about it. . . . This journal, we hope, will help create the necessary discourse. Its early issues might be considered attempts—'essays' in the Montaignian sense—in that direction" (Holberg and Taylor 2001: 5).

From this beginning, we have gone on to publish 185 articles and commentaries that span the subdisciplinary specializations in English studies. In addition to exploring a theme in depth in three special issues,1 we believe we have enlarged the scholarship of teaching in English studies generally. Here is just a sampling of topics that have emerged in the past ten years. We have published work on writing studies, such as Joshua Fausty's "Framing Composition: A Graduate Instructor's Perspective" (2001) and Thomas Hothem's "Suburban Studies and College Writing: Applying Ecocomposition" (2009). We have also provided a forum for a delicious array of methods for approaching literature. Take, for example, our symposium on teaching the Faerie Queene (2003); Marsha Bryant's "IMAX Authorship: Teaching Plath and Her Unabridged Journals" (2004); Karen M. Cardozo's "At the Museum of Natural Theory: The Experiential Syllabus (or, What Happens When Students Act Like Professors)" (2006); Dawn M. Vernooy-Epp's "Teaching Mary Darby Robinson's Reading List: Romanticism, Recovery Work, and Reconsidering Anthologies" (2009); and Michael Lund and Leigha McReynolds's "The Class as Periodical: A Contemporary 'Humanities Lab'" (2009). We have quite a body of work on what we would call "professional issues" that go beyond individual classrooms or curricula to influence "our work" in larger ways. For instance, many of our commentaries and articles have engaged issues such as reenvisioning graduate education (see Schilb 2001; Crisco et al. 2003; and Thomas 2005); disciplinary differences and divisions (Levine 2001; Lim 2003; Beech and Lindquist 2004; McCurrie 2004; Long 2005; Jeffrey Williams 2008); administering programs (Miller 2001; Stygall 2003; Harris 2004); and the changing culture of higher education (see esp. Bérubé 2002; Insko 2003; Holberg and Taylor 2005, 2007...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6255
Print ISSN
1531-4200
Pages
pp. 1-9
Launched on MUSE
2009-12-06
Open Access
No
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